Government Liaison Officer, Riga, Latvia At Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Closing date: Saturday, 11 November 2023

Hardship Level: H (no hardship)

Family Type: Family

Family Type: Family

Residential location (if applicable)Grade: NOC

Staff Member / Affiliate Type: National Professional Officer

Reason: Regular > Regular Assignment

Remote work accepted: No

Target Start Date: 2024-01-01

Job Posting End Date: November 11, 2023

Standard Job Description: Government Liaison Officer Organizational Setting and Work Relationships The Government Liaison Officer is usually located in country operations. S/he plays a crucial role in ensuring UNHCR’s approach to the Government is consistent, strategic and coherent. The main aim is to ensure that UNHCR can fulfil its role to support the Government to lead the refugee response ensuring the protection of refugees and – in line with the GCR – promote the inclusion of refugees into national systems by coordinating with other actors – including development actors at the early stages of a refugee response and in mixed situations supporting the Government to prevent, respond to and resolve internal displacement while complementing and reinforcing national response efforts. This should be done in line with UNHCRs Mandate, the Global Compact for Refugees, the IDP policy, and agreed inter-agency commitments. More specifically, the incumbent advises the senior management on issues and processes concerning the relationship with the Government and related positioning, coordination, advocacy, information, resource allocation, fundraising, reporting, and communication with other UN agencies, NGOs, civil society actors, private sector, media and other relevant actors through strong engagement in humanitarian inter-agency processes, but also with a focus on development processes as they impact on UNHCR. This requires strong engagement in Government processes, and knowledge and interaction with national entities and processes. The Government Liaison Officer assists senior management with ensuring the Government is aware of the humanitarian architecture and can act in line with ongoing development processes related to the UNDS reform and the 2030 agenda as they impact on UNHCR. The overall goal of the position is to strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of UNHCR’s leadership roles and responses to situations affecting people of concern to UNHCR (refugees, asylum-seekers, IDPs, stateless persons, returnees, host communities) through an open and transparent partnership approach with the Government. All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR’s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity. Duties – Advise and assist senior managers to formulate and communicate UNHCR positions on Government-related matters on protection, assistance and inclusion of refugees, providing briefing notes, talking points and issue papers for relevant discussions with the Government. – Promote UNHCR’s policies and liaise with Government authorities on issues related to latest humanitarian and development processes. – Establish and coordinate country-specific coordination mechanisms for situations co-led by UNHCR and the Government. Where applicable, support the development of country-specific refugee response plans (or refugee and migration response plan and refugee and resilience plan) and comprehensive responses. – Contribute to ensuring the coherence of the work of the Multi-sector group (MSG) in accordance with the Government. – Provide protection for persons of concern to UNHCR by ensuring the observance by the local authorities of the recognized principles of refugee law. – Promote accession to refugee law convention in a way that reinforce the asylum institution in the country. – Articulate UNHCR’s priorities towards the Government, including the commitment to humanitarian principles. – With support from senior management, promote the deeper understanding within UNHCR on agreements with the Government and inform other staff on developments with the Government. This includes promoting and stimulating UNHCR’s implementation of key reforms with the Government; – Where there is lack of clarity as to UNHCR’s positions and priorities, identify the issues and bring this to senior management attention. – Assist the Government to ensure timely preparedness activities, including through participation and where necessary coordination of inter-agency contingency planning processes. – Liaise with the Government, inter-government agencies, UN agencies, local and international NGOs and other partners at the country level to find areas of cooperation, joint initiatives and where applicable negotiate joint agreements or work programmes to further protection and assistance for persons of concern. – Organise and implement capacity-building seminars or training programmes for target groups (government officials, etc.). – Maintain close relations with the press and develop public information activities to ensure greater knowledge in public opinion of refugee and asylum issues and promote UNHCR objectives. – Maintain close contact with HQ on emerging issues. – Maintain frequent formal and informal contacts with counterparts in other organisations.

– Support the identification and management of risks and seek to seize opportunities impacting objectives in the area of responsibility. Ensure decision making in risk based in the functional area of work. Raise risks, issues and concerns to a supervisor or to relevant functional colleague(s). – Perform other related duties as required. Minimum Qualifications Years of Experience / Degree Level For P3/NOC – 6 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 5 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 4 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree Field(s) of Education Political/Social Science; Economics; Law/International Law; Business Administration; or other relevant field. Certificates and/or Licenses Not specified. Relevant Job Experience Essential Experience of working with partners at field or Headquarters level. Experience of liaising with governments and/or the donor community. Thorough understanding of UNHCR’s protection mandate and core mission. Thorough understanding of humanitarian coordination processes and/or development coordination. Desirable Inter-agency coordination role. Drafting joint appeal/ refugee response plan/HRP. Experience with another UN agency or partner.Functional Skills CO-Drafting and Documentation CL-Multi-stakeholder Communications with Partners, Government & Community SO-Networking TR-Training and Capacity Building of Governments and/or national programs (Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential) Language Requirements For International Professional and Field Service jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English. For National Professional jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English and local language. For General Service jobs: Knowledge of English and/or UN working language of the duty station if not English. All UNHCR workforce members must individually and collectively, contribute towards a working environment where each person feels safe, and empowered to perform their duties. This includes by demonstrating no tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, harassment including sexual harassment, sexism, gender inequality, discrimination and abuse of power. As individuals and as managers, all must be proactive in preventing and responding to inappropriate conduct, support ongoing dialogue on these matters and speaking up and seeking guidance and support from relevant UNHCR resources when these issues arise. This is a Standard Job Description for all UNHCR jobs with this job title and grade level. The Operational Context may contain additional essential and/or desirable qualifications relating to the specific operation and/or position. Any such requirements are incorporated by reference in this Job Description and will be considered for the screening, shortlisting and selection of candidates.

Desired Candidate Profile: See below.

Required languages (expected Overall ability is at least B2 level):: , ,

Desired languages: , ,

Operational contextOccupational Safety and Health Considerations:: To view occupational safety and health considerations for this duty station, please visit:

Nature of Position:: UNHCR in Latvia has a small presence in Riga, and works closely with Government authorities, civil society \u2013 including a number of partner organizations \u2013 as well as other relevant stakeholders to promote the rights and well-being of refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless persons. The UNHCR office in Latvia reports to the UNHCR’s Representation for the Nordic and Baltic countries, which is based in Stockholm, Sweden.

Latvia used to receive a relatively modest number of asylum applications each year. In August 2021, Latvia faced an increase of arrivals of asylum-seekers and migrants coming via Belarus. Most of the admitted persons applied for asylum in Latvia. Main countries of origin are Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq.

Since February 2022, Latvia has received thousands of refugees from Ukraine including many who transited through the country and continued towards other countries. In total, as of October 2023, almost 50,000 refugees from Ukraine have applied for temporary protection in Latvia, representing almost 3 per cent of Latvia’s population. It is estimated that more than 32,000 holders of temporary protection remain in Latvia. Most refugees from Ukraine are women and children. From the outset of the war in Ukraine, the Latvian Government swiftly adopted the special law to offer effective protection and facilitate access of refugees from Ukraine to rights and services on equal footing with Latvian citizens. Despite the whole-of-society approach and tailored assistance focused on basic needs, inclusion and services available for persons with specific needs, refugees from Ukraine are still facing challenges with decent employment, access to healthcare and education in Latvia.

Following the large increase in the number of refugees due to the full-scale war in Ukraine, UNHCR stepped up its response and operations in Latvia. As of 2023, Latvia is included in the Regional Refugee Response Plan for the Ukraine Situation, complementing the government-led response. The plan is coordinated by UNHCR and has been developed by 14 humanitarian organizations in Latvia.

In addition to refugees from Ukraine, as of July 2023, Latvia also hosts approximately 1,400 refugees from other countries including 323 refugees from Syria, 307 – from Russia, and 232 – from Afghanistan.

There are two more groups of concern to UNHCR: 1) the non-citizens (more than 187,000 persons), and 2) stateless persons determined in the Statelessness Determination Procedure (160 persons). While the non-citizens in Latvia are entitled to rights generally beyond the minimum rights prescribed by the 1954 Convention, in comparison with the situation of citizens of Latvia, differences exist in access to employment, purchasing property, political rights and retirement grants.

The Government Liaison Officer will function as UNHCR’s primary interlocutor in Latvia for government counterparts, civil society and other stakeholders. Moreover, the Government Liaison Officer is tasked with the day-to-day management of UNHCR’s office and the supervision of staff in Latvia. The Government Liaison Officer, with support from UNHCR’s office in Stockholm, will monitor and contribute towards the implementation of UNHCR’s operations in Latvia. The Government Liaison Officer is UNHCR’s primary interlocutor for NGO partners who play a role in the implementation of UNHCR’s programmes. Further, the Government Liaison Officer, in close coordination with the inter-agency coordinator, plays an important role in supporting the inter-agency coordination efforts in the context of the RRP for the Ukraine refugee situation. Finally, where appropriate, the Government Liaison Officer may support UNHCR’s engagement with media.

Living and Working Conditions:: N/A

Additional Qualifications: Skills

CL-Multi-stakeholder Communications with Partners, Government & Community, CO-Drafting and Documentation, SO-Networking, TR-Training and Capacity Building of Governments and/or national programsEducation

Bachelor of Arts (BA): Business Administration, Bachelor of Arts (BA): Economics, Bachelor of Arts (BA): Law, Bachelor of Arts (BA): Political ScienceCertifications

Work Experience

Competencies: Accountability, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Empowering & building trust, Judgement & decision making, Managing performance, Managing resource, Negotiation & conflict resolution, Organizational awareness, Political awareness, Stakeholder management, Teamwork & collaboration

UNHCR Salary Calculator:

CompendiumAdditional Information: Fluency in Latvian and English languages is required for this position.

Functional clearance: This position doesn’t require a functional clearance


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December 2023